Starting next fall, St. Patrick High School in Chicago, will conduct mandatory drug testing of all students The school, attended by 1,000 boys, is the first high school in the Chicago area to require drug testing of the entire student body. “Our only objective is to help students deal with societal pressures,” said Brother Konrad Diebold, president of St. Patrick High School. “We do know that kids are under pressure, and this gives them a chance to say no,’ and say no with integrity.” Parents of the students would pay $60 for the test. School counselors would collect hair samples for testing of marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy use. Students testing positive for drug use will meet with parents and school officials, but would not be disciplined. “Then it’s up to the parents to work something out with the kid,” said Principal Joseph Schmidt. However, he said a second positive test could result in suspension or expulsion.
Reaction to the mandatory drug tests has been mixed among students. “The majority are against it,” said Steven Rohlf, a senior at the school. “A lot of people have a privacy problem. I believe we benefit much more than its bad.” Many of the students parents support the testing program. “As a parent, it’s a great thing,” said Rose Mayerbock, mother of a St. Patrick junior. “There are parents that don’t necessarily realize that their child could be on something. For me, one of my biggest fears is if they are on drugs and alcohol. I am very lucky because I trust that my kids are not”.